Chelmsford Essex then and now

Chelmsford, Essex, is my hometown and has changed immensely since I was born at my parent’s home on the outskirts of the city, many moons ago. It is probably best known for being the birthplace of radio with the first wireless factory being built in 1899. Marconi was by far the biggest employer in the area until its decline in the 1980s. Marconi was also the place where I found my first job.

Here are a few facts about Chelmsford:

~ Chelmsford is a Norman town founded in 1199.

~ Britain’s first public broadcast was made in Chelmsford on 15th June 1920.

~ The population of Chelmsford is approx. 168,000

~ On 14th March 2012 Chelmsford was granted City status.

~ Chelmsford Cathedral is the second smallest in the UK, after Derby Cathedral.

Chelmsford Cathedral
Chelmsford Cathedral

There were originally three main Marconi sites when I joined Marconi’s in the 1980s: New Street, Writtle Road & Great Baddow. The sites in New Street and Writtle Road were sold and have now been redeveloped. The site at Great Baddow was also sold to British Aerospace (BAE), who are still the current occupants of the site but it is now half its original size, with the other half recently being re-developed for housing. Great Baddow’s Marconi Research is where I worked for Marconi. If you speak to anyone from the local area they are bound to know someone who worked at Marconi!

Hylands House is a beautiful stately home on the outskirts of Chelmsford and is very different today than it was in my younger days. I have memories of walking there as a child with family friends and it being almost completely derelict and thinking how sad it was that such a beautiful house was in such a bad state of disrepair. It was sold to the local council, quite some years ago, and has now been almost completely restored to its former glory. It is a place I would recommend anyone to visit. It now has lovely tea rooms and there are often various functions there that the public can attend. The gardens in Spring time are absolutely beautiful with the most wonderful Rhododendron displays. It is also where the very famous ‘V’ Festival is held every year.

If you haven’t been to Essex before, do pay Chelmsford a visit. According to a recent survey by The Halifax it came 10th in a National pole of places to live for quality of life in the UK, out of 405 local authorities. It is a lovely place.

Until the next time

Nicky @NickyClaydon

Photo credit: <a href=””>Mark Seton</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>cc</a>.